Qatar Airways has reported $69 million in revenue loss, which it blames on the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbouring countries.
The airline has been banned from the airspace of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt due to Qatar’s alleged support for extremist groups. Qatar has been ordered to cut their diplomatic ties to Iran, shut down the state-funded Al Jazeera news network, and sever relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.
Qatar Airways has been forced to use longer, alternative routes that use more jet fuel, closing 18 routes all together.
“This turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on our financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade has had on our airline,” said Akbar al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
However, he added that the impact of the blockade has “certainly not been as negative as our neighbouring countries may have hoped for.”
The news comes as Qatar Airways adds two new Boeing 777 freighter jets to its fleet, following a deal made at the Farnborough International Airshow in July for five of the Boeing 777 freighters, which contributed to Boeing’s “unprecedented” total of 48 sales of the cargo jet.
Al-Baker was recently given a tour of the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, in the US, to see the latest model aircraft, the 777X, for which Qatar Airways will be one of the first customers.